Highlights from Marketing ProfCon 2023: Days One & Two

Each year, Marketing ProfCon brings you the latest trends and best practices in the industry. Packed with cutting-edge information and actionable ideas, ProfCon is a powerful resource for educators. It’s a place to share ideas, learn about new trends in the marketing space, and prepare to advance academia for industry.

This year’s Marketing ProfCon was no different. Over the course of three days, we hosted nearly 20 engaging, inspiring sessions; spent a day at two of the Great American West’s most scenic vistas; and celebrated another incredible year of marketing education together.

If you missed Marketing ProfCon 2023, you can view any session on demand at the ProfCon 2023 Recap page.* Or, read on for the highlights of the first two days of ProfCon, including keynote and session highlights.

*Sessions will be available on the ProfCon 2023 Recap page soon!


We kicked off Marketing ProfCon with full-day excursions to Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Attendees spent the day building new connections, sharing ideas, and exploring two of the most beautiful locales in the Mountain West region.

In Yellowstone National Park, attendees strolled around the Grand Prismatic Spring, witnessed the grandeur of Old Faithful, and spent some time at the park’s Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. 

A second group of attendees spent the day in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where they took in the sights at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, hiked around the scenic Jenny Lake, and toured one of the most historic towns in the state. 


On Thursday, Stukent’s® CEO and founder, Stu Draper, kicked off Marketing ProfCon with a presentation on the importance of hands-on learning in marketing education. His thoughts were echoed by Dr. Kate Eaton of Arizona State University, who underscored the power of authenticity and empathy in the classroom. Finally, Dr. Scott Cowley ended the day on a high note with his thoughts on how to inspire students to do their best work in the classroom.* 

*Sessions will be available on the ProfCon 2023 Recap page soon!

Recipes for Success: Learn, Prepare, Share
Stu Draper, founder and CEO of Stukent

Stu welcomed attendees to ProfCon 2023 and shared his “recipes for success” for students, educators, and life at large. “Too often in business education we don’t spend enough time doing hands-on learning,” Stu said. “At Stukent, we have a recipe for the perfect pedagogy: courseware plus Simternships™ plus good educators equals a great educational experience.”

Let’s Learn Together: Knowledge Cocreation in Higher Education 
Dr. Kate Eaton, Arizona State University

Kate explored the pedagogical techniques and knowledge frameworks that increase student success, touching on role clarity, self-confidence, and motivation. “How can we get [students] to take ownership of their experience?” Kate asked. “Feeling that sense of ownership is critical to cocreation frameworks — students need to own [their education] to get the most out of their classes.”

Secrets to Getting Students to Do Their Best Work
Dr. Scott Cowley, Western Michigan University

Scott offered tips and techniques for helping students do their best work in the classroom. He explained his experience with how “Students are rating their best work based on the amount of effort they put in. They also care about recognition and validation as well as the relevancy of their work.”


On the first full day of conference sessions, speakers addressed everything from the emergence of ChatGPT (and how to harness its power) to helping students adapt to a dynamic, uncertain future. “Markets change, technology changes, and people change. We need to help our students change at the same pace,” said Terry Sullivan, Stukent author and president of the marketing agency Strategic Glue.

These 30-minute sessions* touched on new marketing strategies, powerful pedagogies, and techniques to help students thrive in an ever-changing world.

*Sessions will be available on the ProfCon 2023 Recap page soon!

How and Why Sales Education Is Taking Business Schools by Storm
B.J. Allen, Brigham Young University

B.J. discussed the importance of sales education and what steps you can take to build a great sales program at your institution. B.J. emphasized that “All you need to start a sales program is a single class — you don’t need a sales major, minor, or certificate,” and sales training is critical because 80% of business majors will work in a formal sales position during their career. 

Creating a Principles of Marketing Class that Students Want to Attend
Shelly Zaldivar, Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Shelly explored how group work in your principles of marketing course can make your course stand out from the rest. “Students don’t always like the thought of group projects,” Shelly said, “but we make [the course] as real-world as possible. The culmination of individual work and group work leads to success in their careers.”

Hatch Your Potential: The Next Wave of Student Agencies for Marketing and Communication Professionals
Karen Freberg, University of Louisville

Karen joked she’s “Karen, but not a Karen.” She spoke about applied and experiential learning in her student-led marketing agency, The Bird’s Nest. “What is the value of higher education?” she asked. “Student-run agencies can give students opportunities to master concepts and hone their skills which will increase career opportunities in the near future.” 

Business Insights Through Data
Priyanka Shrivastava, Hult International Business School

Priyanka discussed how to make the best use of data to make better business decisions. “Giving students something to put on their resume is essential,” she said. “Handling real-world business challenges and discussing how to solve those problems with future employers is the key to student success.

ChatGPT: Help Your Students Level Up with Prompt Engineering in the Classroom
Christina Kalberg, Point Loma Nazarene University

Christina addressed the projected impact of AI tools like ChatGPT and how you can prepare your students to work alongside them. “97 million jobs globally will be displaced by AI in 2024,” she said. “If we don’t embrace what is happening with ChatGPT, then we’re going to get run over.”

Converting Simulations from Low Impact to High Impact Practices
Joie Hain, Clayton State University

Joie outlined how to turn simulations into high-impact practices for the classroom. “Skills developed through high-impact practices are communication, problem-solving, and creative thinking,” she said. “These are the skills we need to help students develop because these are the skills most demanded by employers.” 

Humanistic Connection in Modern E-commerce Marketing
Dr. Kyle Allison, Frozen Fire

Kyle explored how e-commerce sits at the intersection of business disciplines — supply chain, customer service, marketing, IT, and more. Kyle said, “In e-commerce, customer retention is more important than customer acquisition. Retailers need to do everything within their power to drive customer loyalty and retention.” 

The Art Behind the Data
Melissa Dennis, Gwynedd Mercy University

Melissa explained how she creates a narrative around data and how she teaches these principles in the classroom. “We become so focused on the data … we need to take a step back and think about the ‘why’ of the data that we have. … Data without a story is like a plot without a twist.”

Arming Students with Presentation Skills so They Can Share with Confidence and Purpose
Tara Williams, Medicine Hat College

Tara dove into educational strategies to help students overcome their public speaking anxieties. “Create low-stakes opportunities for students,” she said. “Identify apprehension. Write it down. How do they feel after they do that? Show them how it helps.”

Beyond Packaged Analytics: Conducting Custom Engagement Analyses
Holly Syrdal, Texas State University

Holly discussed the importance of measuring the drivers of social media engagement, including psychological and behavioral factors. “If you’re a marketer, what do you rely on — industry experts or academic research?” Holly asked. “Organizations should discover what works for them. A custom analysis is easy to do and can be taught to students. Export engagement data and see what’s working for a brand or organization.”

Strategy, Execution, and Managing Today’s Marketing Students
Terry Sullivan, Strategic Glue

Terry addressed the challenges that today’s students face in getting their first jobs and progressing in their careers. “Markets change, technology changes, and people change. We need to help our students change at the same pace,” Terry said. “Student learning is just beginning when they graduate.” 

Educating Future Social Media Managers: Placing Emphasis on Conflict Management, Audience Interpretation, and Personal Boundaries
Jana Thomas, Kansas State University

Jana pinpointed three power skills that all social media managers need: (1) Helping students understand how to handle customer mistreatment, (2) How to effectively communicate with diverse and polarized audiences, and (3) How to set up guardrails to protect your mental health. “[Students should] practice responding to negative communication” on social media, Jana said. “Audiences can interpret a message in a completely different way than a brand intended.”

What’s Next: Preparing Your Students for the Future
Edward W. Russell, Syracuse University

Edward discussed how educators are preparing their students for jobs that may no longer exist in five years. So, it’s imperative that educators prepare them to be flexible, lifelong learners. “Having a specific vision is good,” Ed said, “but it can also be limiting. Help students envision a future and help them get there.”

Designing Industry-aligned, Skills-based Marketing Curricula
Sandra Sjoberg, Western Governors University

Sandra argued that in today’s world, students need to be prepared for skills-based hiring. “Is your course worth its cost?” Sandra asked. “You are the steward of your students’ success — align [your curriculum] so that all skill sets are being taught in every section of your course.”

Integrating Entrepreneurship into Marketing Programs
Dr. Jen Riley, Purdue University

Jen highlighted best practices for incorporating entrepreneurship into your marketing course. “Entrepreneurial marketing is defined as an orientation as well as a process of passionately pursuing opportunities and launching and growing ventures,” she said. “How do we help students think like entrepreneurs and equip them to be competitive in the marketplace as employees or entrepreneurs?”

Innovative Approaches to Social Media Marketing: Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality
Michelle Charello, AlphaStruxure

Michelle demonstrated how quickly the social media industry is evolving. “It’s advancing at an incredible pace,” she said. “[To help students prepare for the future], introduce them to the concepts and applications of AI and AR, gain experience with these tools, and incorporate them into assignments.”

Each year, the Stukent team leaves ProfCon with a renewed commitment to fulfilling our mission to help educators help students help the world. We’re so grateful to all the presenters and attendees who helped make Marketing ProfCon 2023 great and hope you enjoyed your time in Idaho Falls. See you in 2024!

Marketing ProfCon 2023 was a three-day academic conference held from June 14 – 16, 2023. Each year, ProfCon presents actionable tips and strategies for marketing educators to use in their classrooms. To view the 2023 ProfCon sessions on demand, please visit the 2023 ProfCon Recap page.

Stukent also hosts a series of webinars for marketing education and other business subjects. To learn more, please visit the Stukent Webinars Library

For more information about Stukent’s first-in-the-world Simternships™ and courseware, or to get free instructor access to our products, please visit our website.

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